On not going to Rome. A journal page that didn’t make it onto my new book, AKissB4UGo.

I guess it’s appropriate that this spread never made it into the book because it’s about a painful decision I made to not do something.

My friend Steve had moved to Tuscany several years ago and renovated an old farmhouse. We’d been very excited for him and kept abreast of all the changes he was making in this life. He took great pains to make sure that his farmhouse was wheelchair accessible so that Patti could come and visit him.  He put in a special bathroom and was very excited about the day when we would arrive. That day never came.

At Patti’s memorial service, Steve encouraged Jack and me to come and visit him as soon as possible. And we planned the trip for three we should never have put off. My niece Morgan was to take Patti’s place and I bought tickets and served a rental car and we were all ready to go. But at the last minute, I just couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving my home — it just seemed too scary and disruptive.  I was sure that Patti’s absence would hang so heavily over me if we made this long anticipated trip. I felt like I was stepping off a cliff;  it made me think of all the things that we could’ve and should’ve done together but now never would. I imagine waking up in a strange bed in a distant country in the middle of the night and feeling utterly and hopelessly alone. I just couldn’t stand it. Fortunately, Steve was understanding when I told him of our last minute change in plans.

This is still a painful and confusing memory.  I don’t know that I can fully explain it even now. Maybe that’s why it didn’t end up in the book.

6 thoughts on “Arrivederci”

  1. I don’t think it’s always or even often possible to become clear about feelings and desires in a convenient or timely manner. This is especially true after a traumatic event when we’re eddying around in powerful swirls of all kinds of emotion. I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t want to leave your home and city so soon after Patti died. Healing takes time and sometimes we need to cocoon for awhile first.


  2. I cannot imagine at the time how rough that would have been. And to go somewhere so far away, even if you had made it, and still see so many reminders of something she was never able to do would have been hard too.

    Have you been since?


  3. I agree with all of the insightful and heartfelt comments above. Sometimes we just have to step back from ourselves and keep things very simple while grieving. Steve certainly is a wonder of a friend and I predict one day you’ll be able to go without a heavy heart. In the meantime, you’ve been blessed with a talent for expressing yourself through words and art…which now has come to serve you (and us) in a healing capacity.


  4. I know what you mean. Thanks.
    It’s difficult for me to go farther than 60 miles from home since my husband died one year ago.
    All of your books and these additions are helping and especially AKissB4Ugo.


  5. I lost my husband to suicide ten years ago, and I remember how painful it was to leave home. We had been planning a trip to Italy for two years. Even when I would spend the night at my daughter’s house, half an hour away…. a house I was very familiar with…. I could not sleep, but would pace the dark room all night, fighting an impulse to grab my car keys, leave them a note and drive home in the snow storm. However, three years later, when I found someone I enjoyed being with, he took me to Tuscany. It broke my heart wide open, and I could love again. I saw the world through brand new eyes! We are married now, and his having lost his previous wife, too, we deeply understand each other’s healing path. I so love your new book, Danny, and being a sketcher myself, it inspires me to publish!


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